“There’s a lot to love (and dislike) about both nations; both nationalities. You can’t generalise, and you can’t stereotype.” (person commenting on USA and UK on BBC America website)
I agree with the comment.
Ruth Margolis writing for BBC America says that Americans treat their pets like people. It is a bit tongue-in-cheek but I sense that she means what she writes to a certain extent.
She refers to the famous cat and dog strollers (prams for pets), which are an American invention. If they are not an American invention, I apologise (apologize). Actually, I think they are quite a good idea!
Interestingly, an American male comments on this:
“I have seen the same thing over there. Mind you they were gay men, but still. In a baby carriage.”
I hate to say it but the comment is so American.
Ruth Margolis also mentions the habit, among a small part of American society, of dressing up their pets to look like humans.
Then she also refers to the greater tendency of American veterinarians to prescribe Prozac and other anti-depressant drugs to cats and dogs. This is completely alien to me. I believe that people on both sides of the pond have blurred the boundaries between feeling unhappy, which is a natural part of life and being genuinely depressed. You can’t be happy without being sad. Unfortunately, a lot people don’t understand that and Margolis seems to be saying that Americans are less likely to accept unhappiness and have transferred that mentality to their cats and dogs.
Recently I did a post on people not spaying their female cats until after the cat has had at least one litter. One reason is because the owner wants the cat to experience giving birth. This is a human concept. Also a it appears that some female American cat owners want to experience child birth and child care vicariously through their cat. However, this must happen in any country.
So there you have it. I have no idea if Americans tend to treat their cats as people more than the Brits do.
There is one other unfortunate phenomenon that possible supports the argument that Americans do like to treat their cats as people. It is unique to North America. It is declawing. You could successfully argue that removing the last phalanx of all ten toes of the forelegs is an act that takes a significant part of what makes a cat away from the cat. It is an operation that de-cats the cat and makes him a fur-babe or one of those mythical human companions that is no longer a real animal. In short declawing brings the cat nearer to being human or it is a sign that Americans treat their pets like people.
Survey on Personality
There is an interesting newspaper report on a survey of 20,000 Americans and Brits which looks at the differences in personality of people from the USA and UK.
I have not seen the full results but a selection is as follows:
- Brits are twice as likely as Americans to come across as “chilled out”.
- Americans were twice as likely to come across as “caring” or as “energetic optimists”.
- Americans are 13 times more likely to “flash their cash”.
- Americans are 4 times more likely to want to talk over problems than Brits who prefer to bottle it up. Sir Michael Caine explains this by saying this about Brits:
“…If we are hearbroken we don’t scream in your face with tears, we go home and cry on our own.”
I remember a philosopher of some sort (I forget who) saying that when a Brit wants to kill himself he goes into his study and blows his brains out. When an American wants to do it, he goes to a public place and shoots half a dozen people before blowing his brains out or being shot.
To go back to the beginning……There are some great aspects and some lousy aspects to both nations and both peoples. I don’t know if what Ruth Margolis writes is true.
Brits should celebrate the good things about America and vice versa.
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